a memoir on cancer, community, and coming home to the body.
“I cannot figure out who I am as a body these days,” writes Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in this powerful, tender and humorous memoir about resiliency and love in the face of cancer. Mirriam-Goldberg braves breast cancer, the breast cancer genetic mutation and the loss of a parent by connecting with an eclectic Midwest community, the land and sky, and a body undergoing vast renovation. Along the way, she swims with stingrays in the Gulf of Mexico, searches for cream puffs for a Pennsylvania funeral, leads a group fighting to protect ecologically-essential land in Kansas, and helps students find their own voice in Vermont. In searching for a new definition of the erotic through our awareness of nature, this memoir illuminates how our bodies are our most local address on the earth.
“I step outside again in the morning, the overgrown grass of early spring pouring over itself around the tilted cottonwood tree. The hills and wind around this home carry their own losses and scars, and yet are lit with a green both pale and fierce, quiet and shining, fully here at this moment and on the verge of changing completely. I return to earth and sky, continually coming home.”
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas and a long-time bioregionalist, poet, and writer. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Animals in the House, Lot’s Wife, and Reading the Body; an award-winning writing book, Write Where You Are; and the editor of The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader. She founded and coordinates Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, and she facilitates writing workshops, particularly for people living with serious illness. With rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Kelley Hunt, she also performs and leads Brave Voice writing and singing workshops and retreats. Caryn helped found the Kansas Area Watershed Council, the Continental Bioregional Congress, and the Transformative Language Arts Network. She makes her home with her family just south of Lawrence, Kansas in the Wakarusa river valley fmi: www.carynmirriamgoldberg.com
Cancer patient. The phrase brings to mind a bald head and a frail body, chilly in a thin hospital gown. The loss of hair, strength and tissue can reduce anyone to the basics of skin and bone, as the body undergoes war at the cellular level, invasive surgeries and waves of radiation and harsh chemicals. (read more)